‘We’re worried that West Midlands Police are becoming increasingly trigger-happy with Tasers’ - Oliver Sprague
Reacting to reports that police deployed CS gas and a Taser electro-shock weapon in their response to a protest by students at Warwick University in Coventry yesterday, Amnesty International UK Arms Control Director Oliver Sprague said:
“Videos of the incident and accounts from several eyewitnesses raise serious concerns about whether the police acted heavy-handedly and seriously endangered people at the scene.
“Eyewitnesses report that CS gas was used in a relatively confined space against peaceful protesters posing no threat, while one police officer is clearly seen discharging a Taser into the air for a prolonged period - an action that could have caused serious injury if gas had been ignited.
“A Taser is only supposed to be used by police as a ‘distance-control’ weapon when confronting dangerous individuals - it should never be used as a crowd-control device.
“West Midlands police already use Tasers more than any other police force in England and Wales and we’re increasingly concerned that its officers are misusing the weapon.
“We’re not against CS gas or Tasers if used by well-trained police officers trying to prevent a death or a serious injury, but we’re worried that West Midlands Police are becoming increasingly trigger-happy with Tasers.”
West Midlands Police Tasers use
Home Office statistics on Taser use in England and Wales during January-June 2014 are here.